Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Delicious (Russian) Mushroom Soup

Two Sundays ago,
I had a long awaited dinner party,
that I had been planning since January
and was so excited about.
I am going to blog about the things I made for it 
before publishing the post
with the dinner all put together.
This meal took a good deal of planning
and I enjoyed every minute of it.
It took me about 2.5 days to prepare everything,
with a very full Saturday of cooking and baking.
The first course of this meal
was a wonderful mushroom soup.

The inspiration for the choice of this soup
is from the wonderful dinner party 
that I'd been at in the Theophany season of 2014 
I emailed my dear local friend about the recipe and she sent me
various options and these words:

I never add potatoes.  They do add some body though.  Instead, after heating the fat (butter, oil, whatever you're using) I add about a tablespoon of AP flour, whisk to blend on low/med heat, cook about 2 minutes whisking slowly all the while, then slowly add the broth/liquid you're using.  
This will add body.
For rehydrating the mushrooms, I cover them (just) with boiling water and let them sit (covering the bowl also) for about an hour or two.  They'll soften further when sauteed.  Save the excess water and add it to your broth!
I prefer to season with either dill or thyme...in happy quantities.  :) 
I choose the recipe that was closest to the one she uses and adapted it to what I had in the house:


1 onion, chopped
{I may have used two onions}
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
1 celery stick, chopped (optional)
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
{I think I tripled the butter used}

{I used 3 large portobella mushroom tops and
some dried mushrooms from outside of Rome that my 
local friend N had given us from where St. Benedict had lived...
see top of this blog post for how to rehydrate them}

8 oz. fresh wild mushrooms
1/2 cup barley
5 cups vegetable stock
3 Tbsp. scallions, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
sour cream for serving (optional)
fresh herbs for serving

The items above that I struck through I did not have in the house.

I forgot about the flour tip (see above) from my friend and at the last minute
I took some of the broth after mixing some flour and butter in a small
sauce pan, and mixed it together and then added it to the soup.

Worked Perfectly! 

I also added a good deal of dried ground thyme,
which worked was the perfect herb for this soup!

I added the thyme, salt and pepper at the end...
(I used fresh ground salt and added kosher salt until
the taste was right and full bodied one}

It made a full soup tureen full!


Heat the oil and butter in a large pan until foaming. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened but not colored.

Chop or thinly slice the fresh mushrooms and add to the pan. Stir over a medium heat for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Add the barley, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, half-cover the pan and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

{As mentioned I above I added the flour/butter/broth mixture at the end
as well as the seasonings} 

Add the chopped scallions, taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve hot with sour cream, garnish with fresh herbs.

with my and my friend N's modifications

As this soup was the first of three courses,
I did not fill the soup bowl up but
rather gave a modest portion for enjoyment and taste!
I did find that while the soup was hot in the
soup tureen, the sour cream did cool the soup down
quite a bit.
It was very good and with the sour cream as a cooling
factor, this soup can work well both in winter and summer.


Lisa said...

This sounds very nice, but I can't get over the fact that you had mushrooms from where St. Benedict lived! I could squeal!!

elizabeth said...

Lisa, I KNOW!!! it's really special! I still have more that I hope to use in future soups! I wish we lived closer, I would invite you for dinner for sure! :) I love St. Benedict! :)

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Oh, fabulous!

Martha said...

A friend of mine gave me some dehydrated mushrooms, too, although I don't think they're from Italy, she would've told me I'm sure! ♥ I need to make this soup...looks very good!!!